I am fortunate. I found a job that I truly enjoy that allows me to make a good living. I have heard people who feel this way say, “I would do it for free.” Mostly athletes and successful artists say this, but I really do love what I do.
My mind tends to think in logical, simple concepts. This column is just that, a simple outline to increase your sales. I know that increasing sales can be very involved and takes time and money, but the message I am trying to share is that if you narrow your focus in just one area, develop a plan, and implement the plan, then you should see results. Once you do, then move on to the next area!
From my perspective, there are just five ways to increase sales:
#1 increase your client type
We all tend to work with the same type of customers. We might do well with high-end homeowners. Some of us may work with interior designers. We may work with custom home builders. Some prefer the average homeowner.
The message for this type of growth is to understand who your client is and then deliberately plan to go after other client types. Make as long a list as you can of all the client types that your company can acquire as a client. Next, check off the ones that you are currently going after. Look at the ones left, pick one, and develop a plan to go after them. Marketing to this new category may require a different message and a different method, but this new category will give you new and different sales!
An example is a prayer room or pooja/puja. In my market, there is a high concentration of people from India. Many of them are practicing Hindus, and they have an area of their home just for prayer. I could create a marketing piece and deliver them to the local temples, maybe introduce myself to the staff at these temples. This is just an example of increasing your client type.
#2 increase your product offering
I imagine that most of you who read this magazine offer closet systems. So, think about products that you could add to offer to your existing clients. The example that comes to mind is your local grocery store. They sell eggs next to the bacon; they sell peanut butter next to the jelly; you should offer products that work well together.
Think wall beds, mud rooms, home offices, or add an entirely new but complementary product like window coverings or mirrors, and then be in that business. The point is that you already have clients, and they already trust you; what else can you offer that they would buy? Once you add those new products, be sure to let them know you now offer them – and continue to let them know – so when they are ready to add or upgrade, you are there.
#3 increase your market share
It took me a while to grasp this concept and relate it to my company in our little community of 70,000 people. The simple question is this, what would you guess is the total amount of money spent on the products and services you provide? Let’s use $5 million as our example. If you are a $1 million company, you have a 20 percent market share.
This next method of increasing your sales is to get more market share. The question is how? Begin with the fact that you already know that each year people in your area are spending $5 million, and 80 percent of it is not from you. The question is, who else are they buying from, and why? Find out why, and you have your answer on how to gain more market share.
We all know that people buy from the big box stores as DIY. Perhaps develop a DIY program that they can install themselves, but add the service of a telephone call for help when they have trouble installing, and be sure you can answer the phone on nights and weekends, as that is when they will most likely be doing the work. I only use this as a simple example of market share and how you need to think differently to gain more market share!
#4 increase your footprint
If you already feel that your market share is as large as it is going to get, then you have to look at a different market.
Currently, you have a geographic area that you feel comfortable in or feel that you can be profitable working. You may have decided that traveling outside of that area shortens your workday, etc. However, you might have a higher close ratio, there may be less competition, and working in that area could mean higher sales. If so, then you need to figure out how to do it smartly. Maybe only go to that area once a week or once a month. Maybe rent a storage locker for your material or buy a larger truck to be able to bring in more than one job. Maybe you pay for a hotel room and work longer days but are able to charge more for it. The point I am trying to make is that if your market share has reached its maximum and you want to grow, then figuring out how to do so in a new market may be a good choice.
#5 buy a competitor
We talked about this in the last issue, but a simple way to grow market share is to buy more “market.” Again, assuming a total of $5 million overall is being spent every year on your products and service, and your sales are $1 million, then your market share is 20 percent. If you buy a competitor that has $500,000 in sales, then your market share just increased to 30 percent.
As your market share increases, you just might be able to increase your prices, and this may make it easier to increase your footprint.
Within each of these “Only 5 Ways to Increase Sales,” there are many choices and paths, from advertising to hiring salespeople, from adding a showroom to increasing your followers on social; the paths are many, but they all fall within these five methods. My goal for you is this, use this list to narrow your focus, make a decision, create your plan, and most importantly, work the plan.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.